Where will the project be located?
SouthCoast Wind’s wind turbines, inter-array cables, and offshore electric substation/s will be located in the Atlantic Coast Outer Continental Shelf lease area OCS-A 0521, which is over 30 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard and 20 miles south of Nantucket.
In order to maximize the potential of the lease area capacity, SouthCoast Wind is pursuing dual delivery projects to transmit the electricity to end-users onshore. The first project slated to deliver power to the New England electric grid is SouthCoast Wind 1 – Connecting in Brayton Point, Somerset, MA. A second delivery project, connecting in Falmouth, MA is also being pursued.
SouthCoast Wind 1:
- Submarine cable routing from the lease area to Brayton Point, which is over 70 miles away from the offshore lease area, is still being determined, based upon ongoing surveys, studies, and the permitting process. The routing would extend northwest through Rhode Island state waters, the Sakonnet River, and Mount Hope Bay, with a brief buried underground crossing in Portsmouth, before connecting power to Brayton Point Interconnection.
- Submarine export cables will extend north through Muskeget Channel and then west towards Vineyard Sound, before making landfall in Falmouth, which is over 50 miles away. Underground electric cables will connect power to an onshore substation in Falmouth. Underground transmission lines will extend from the Falmouth substation to the Falmouth point of interconnection to the regional power grid.
No final decisions on site locations for project facilities will be made until a full routing analysis has been completed. Baseline surveys are currently underway to gather data on-site and assess the suitability of alternative sites for a complete and reasoned analysis of the alternatives.
How many acres are in the federal offshore lease area?
How much power will SouthCoast Wind generate?
We are developing a federal offshore lease area that has the potential to generate up to 2,400 megawatts (MW) of power, depending on technology. That is enough energy to power more than one million homes in the region.
What is the overall project timeline?
We expect to deliver clean energy to New England by 2028.
Who will benefit from the project?
Individuals and communities across New England will benefit from the SouthCoast Wind project.
In Massachusetts, both residential and business ratepayers will benefit from low-cost energy generated by the project, saving over $2 billion on electric bills over the project’s lifetime, according to the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources.
Across all of New England, wind power from the project will enhance electric system reliability, especially in peak winter months. The project will also support thousands of new jobs and supply chain growth across all phases—development, construction, and operations. In particular, SouthCoast Wind has committed to at least 75% of all operations and maintenance jobs being locally based.
Governments at all levels benefit from the increased revenue and economic activity. The US government has received $135 million for the federal offshore lease payment. The project is estimated to provide nearly $2.5 billion in total economic benefit to the Commonwealth.
Over the 20-year contract period, the citizens of New England will benefit from cleaner air, as the project will eliminate over thirteen million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions system-wide once in operation.
What permits and licenses does SouthCoast Wind need before it can start construction?
The SouthCoast Wind project will require local, state, regional, and federal permits and approvals for relevant onshore, nearshore, and offshore work. SouthCoast Wind has the experience, knowledge, and capacity to obtain the permits and approvals necessary to develop and operate offshore energy projects.
SouthCoast Wind received approval of its Site Assessment Plan from the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in May 2020 and is currently undertaking onshore and offshore baseline surveys required to advance engineering and evaluate potential environmental, historical, cultural and social impacts. These efforts have been, and will continue to be, pursued with input from communities and stakeholders to ensure a safe, reliable, and responsible project.
How can the public be involved in reviewing the project?
Public participation in the offshore wind development process is critical. Early input from stakeholders helps inform project design and planning. SouthCoast Wind is committed to developing the project through an open, transparent, and collaborative process.
The permitting and regulatory review process includes formal public meetings and public comment periods to allow all interested parties to share information and submit feedback. We encourage people to contact us if they have questions or would like to learn more about the project.
Who is responsible for removing the project facilities if it is no longer operational?
SouthCoast Wind will comply with all federal US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) requirements for decommissioning, including removal of necessary facilities, cables, projects, and obstructions on the seafloor. Federal offshore Lease obligations require SouthCoast Wind to set up a decommissioning fund. As part of the project approval process, SouthCoast Wind will develop a preliminary decommissioning plan. This plan will continue to be reviewed and improved over the operating life of the project to incorporate new discoveries and advancements in the fields of marine science and engineering, as well as lessons learned from the offshore wind industry and other offshore operations.
How much power will interconnect to Somerset? How about Falmouth?
SouthCoast Wind intends to maximize output from the offshore lease area, which has the potential to generate up to 2,400 megawatts (MW) of low-cost clean energy. To enable energy from the lease area to flow into the regional transmission grid operated by ISO New England, SouthCoast Wind must go through the ISO New England interconnection process. ISO New England has a planning requirement that, in effect, limits the capacity of a single project at a single point of interconnection to no more than 1,200 MW. As a result, developing the full potential of the lease area will require two sets of transmission interconnection facilities. SouthCoast Wind plans to utilize one point of interconnection at Brayton Point in Somerset, Massachusetts, and another in Falmouth, Massachusetts. Our simultaneous pursuit of 1,200 MW of capacity at Brayton Point, and 1,200 MW of capacity at Falmouth gives us flexibility for the future.
Why is SouthCoast Wind seeking exemption from Falmouth’s bylaw 240-166 Wind Energy Systems?
Energy infrastructure projects are sited in the public interest through extensive routing and public participation processes. In order to assure that projects can be completed, the entities building them have the right to seek exemptions when necessary to allow for the timely construction of the project. Exemptions from local zoning bylaws must meet well-established criteria set by the Department of Public Utilities. SouthCoast Wind is seeking an exemption from the bylaw 240-166 in order to build the project in Falmouth.
What are the tradeoffs between DC vs. AC?
Generally, high voltage direct current (HVDC) technology is considered more efficient for transferring large amounts of power over long distances, as it incurs less power loss when compared with equivalent alternating current (HVAC) systems. However, HVDC systems require converter equipment that is traditionally more costly and has a more limited supply chain.
The threshold above which HVDC can be a better choice is at distances of about 60 to 75 miles.
As a result, HVAC is the preferred technology for the delivery route to Falmouth, while HVDC technology will be used for the delivery route to Brayton Point.
Do you plan on leasing or purchasing the property at Brayton Point?
SouthCoast Wind would lease property at Brayton Point for onshore transmission and grid connection.
How will the project benefit Somerset?
Construction of the underground cables and converter station at Brayton Point will create job opportunities for a variety of qualified local contractors, in areas such as surveying, grading, aggregate and concrete, and other civil and electrical engineering. Local retail and hospitality businesses will see increased activity for goods and services. We encourage interested contractors and suppliers to register with us.
How will the project benefit Portsmouth and broader Rhode Island?
- Millions of dollars in submerged lands lease fees for the offshore route in Rhode Island waters
- Creation of 14,000+ diverse job opportunities throughout the 1,200 MW project lifecycle
- SouthCoast Wind has committed to sourcing at least 75% of our long-term operations & maintenance jobs locally in Southern New England
- Local revenue from the onshore underground transmission assets in the Town of Portsmouth
- Supply chain opportunities and spending, including procurement of materials, equipment, and services, use of port and vessel charters, and expenditures at local retail and hospitality businesses
- We recently partnered with SupplyRI, an initiative of RI Commerce Corporation – to aid in our targeted procurement of goods and services specifically from RI-based companies. We encourage interested contractors and suppliers to register with us, as well as with SupplyRI.
- SouthCoast Wind has partnered with a number of local institutions and organizations across Rhode Island to support diverse academic, economic, and environmental initatives in the Ocean State.
How many turbines are you planning to install?
The lease area has 149 positions to install wind turbines and offshore substation platforms.
What is the projected cost of SouthCoast wind from conception to ready to operate?
The estimated total cost is about $5 billion.
Will Portsmouth, Somerset, and Falmouth receive power from the project or is energy just traveling through to the grid?
Electricity customers across New England will benefit from SouthCoast Wind’s clean energy resource as the power will contribute to the increased reliability and decarbonatization of the regional electrical grid.
Are there any land purchases or eminent domain takings?
There are no takings. The project will primarily be installed underneath public property (existing paved roadways or roadside shoulders) and above-ground at a substation, which will be located on private property. Negotiations with private property owners are conducted in a manner that is respectful of their property rights.